Sunday, September 4, 2011

Animation legend Isao Takahata hints again at a new project

by Chris MaGee

One constant amongst Japanese animation fans is the constant anticipation of new Studio Ghibli films. While the studio responsible for such classics as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Princess Mononoke" likes to play coy about upcoming projects their roster of talent, from master Hayao Miyazaki to his protégés like son Goro and Hiromasa Yonebayashi, have never kept their eager fans waiting long for new animated adventures. That has not been the case with Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata though. The last time we saw a feature film from him was back in 1999. Since then Takahata has let his the elder Miyazaki take most of the Studio Ghibli limelight; but that situation may finally be changing.

Way back in August of 2009 we reported on how Takahata revealed that his next project would be a re-telling of the Japanese folktale "Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter)", the story of a little girl who is discovered inside a stalk of bamboo by a farmer. Okay, that was two years ago and still no "Taketori Monogatari". We were suspicious.

Now, Anime News Network is reporting that Takahata is back out there talking about a new project, but this time there's no mention of "Taketori Monogatari". Apparently Takahata was speaking to the press at an exhibition of the works of animator Canadian animator Frédéric Back which Studio Ghibli is co-presenting at Tokyo's Museum of Contemporary Art. When asked if he is working on a new film Takahata responded yes, but that is is not completed, and that it won't likely be until sometime in 2013. Given that Takahata is now 75-years-old we hope that whatever he is working on gets completed while he still has the energy to tackle it. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

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